Online Dating with My Jewish Mother
Some of you know what it’s like to have a Jewish mother. The truth is, it’s actually pretty awesome. Maybe she taught you Yiddish songs when you were a kid so you’d know how to complain that different parts of your body hurt (“oh my head, it twirls like an apple!”); perhaps she bakes you sugary treats that you’re not allowed to have because of your strict anti-inflammatory diet (and then gets offended that you won’t eat them). But if you’re really lucky, maybe your Jewish mother has been asking you for months now to “sit down with her, just for an hour, and look at JDate.” Welcome back, readers, to the adjective-defying relationship I have with my mother.
My Jewish Mother
It’s sweet, really. My Jewish mother, who’s never done internet dating herself, doesn’t understand how harrowing it can get in the online dating trenches (in case you don’t understand what I mean, you can always click here to read more). She just couldn’t get why I wasn’t finding someone. Afterall, I had the vast interweb at my fingertips.
So I agreed, finally. And there we were, sitting together at one end of the big dining room table, scrolling through Jews. “It’s not that you need a Jewish guy,” she explained, “but it helps to have a cultural reference point.” Always touching when parents attempt to mitigate impending emotional trauma with rationalization. I raised my eyebrows.
Within moments, I found myself awkwardly attempting to explain and justify my sexual preferences to my mother. Not necessarily how I hoped it would go. It probably sounded something like this:
“Oh this one’s a doctor!”
“He’s only 5’7, mom.”
“So? He’s a doctor and he has trustworthy hair.”
“I just, I don’t really date men shorter than 5’10…”
“Well, that’s ridiculous! You can’t disregard a whole segment of the male population on the basis of height alone.” (Did I mention she’s a lawyer?)
How do you explain your sexual preferences to your Jewish mother? Let alone your dating bottom lines, like no dudes whose pictures are just headless torsos with a little too much of the Abercrombie hip bone showing?
An hour later, I had sent out three messages, painstakingly composed, containing the syllable “hi” and the winky smiley face emoji. My mom got up from the table, pouting slightly and walked heavily to the kitchen to make herself some tea (the lady loves her tea). “I see what you mean,” she said finally. “A perfect ending to this grotesque experiment,” I thought with satisfaction. Though I never heard back from any of the tall Jews, I also never have to try to explain online dating to my mother again. And isn’t that just another way to say happiness?
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